CALL FOR PAPERS - Men in White Coats: Treatment under Coercion


Book Symposium and Public Lecture with George Szmukler

“Men in White Coats: Treatment under Coercion”

June 27-28, 2019

Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine

Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine

Ruhr University Bochum

Applications by May 12, 2019


In Men in White Coats (OUP, 2018), George Szmukler discusses a wide array of problems related to involuntary medical treatment in psychiatry, arguing that mental health laws warranting involuntary treatment based on the presence of a ‘mental disorder’ and a ‘risk to self or others’ discriminate against persons with mental disorders. As a solution to this problem, Szmukler develops a ‘Fusion Law Proposal,’ which bases involuntary treatment squarely on a lack of decision-making capability and ensures that involuntary treatment respects the rights, will and preferences of the person under treatment.


George Szmukler is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Society at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London



Early career scholars are invited to give a comment on one of the following topics:


·         Violence risk assessment in psychiatry (Ch. 3)

·         Discrimination and mental health law (Ch. 5 and 6)

·         Decision-making capability, substitute decision-making and the UN-CRPD (Ch. 7 and 8)

·         The nature and justification of treatment pressures (Ch. 9)


Commentators will give a comment of 20 minutes, followed by a brief response from George Szmukler and a 30-minutes discussion. The comment can be a criticism of, an alternative to, or an application of the proposals made in Men in White Coats. Copies of the chapters can be made available upon request.




Please send an abstract on any of the subtopics (300-400 words) along with a short CV to by May 12, 2019. The conference language is English. Unfortunately, costs for travel and accommodation cannot be reimbursed. Dinner on the 27th and lunch on the 28th are included for commentators.



Thursday June 27, 4:30 - 6pm

Public lecture by George Szmukler

Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine

LWL University Hospital, Ruhr University Bochum

Seminar room 3

Alexandrinenstr. 1-3

44791 Bochum


Friday June 28, 10am - 5pm

Book symposium with George Szmukler

Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine (

Seminar room, 7th floor

Malakowturm / Markstr. 258a

44799 Bochum



The lecture and book symposium are organized by the Bochum SALUS project. The Bochum SALUS project is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.